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MAY 2017



Getting the Most Out of Your Social Security

Most AFSAmembers now

retire under the Foreign

Service Pension System, for

which Social Security is a

major component. With the

Social Security provisions of

the 2015 Bipartisan Budget

Act closing off some options,

AFSA invited Social Security

expert Ed Zurndorfer to dis-

cuss the changes, how they

affect FSPS members and

how to get the most out of

Social Security.

More than 50 people

attended the March 2 discus-

sion at AFSA headquarters.

Mr. Zurndorfer began his

presentation by reminding the

audience that Social Security

does not only refer to the well-

known retirement benefit, but

also disability, survivor and

Medicare benefits.

He reviewed a number

of topics, including how to

calculate your retirement

benefits, your choices on how

and when to start receiving

benefits and federal taxation

of your benefits.

Following the presenta-

tion, Mr. Zurndorfer answered

questions from the audience.

A video of the event is avail-

able at the AFSA website,,


additional resources about

Social Security planning and

other matters of interest to

our members are available



Social Security expert Ed Zurndorfer discusses the different types of social

security benefits at the March 2 event at AFSA headquarters.


Retiree Outreach in Action

Retired Ambassador



spoke at the

Goodwin House retirement

community in Alexandria,

Virginia in late March. Her

talk, “Climate Change and

Diplomacy,” was enthusiasti-

cally received by the highly

informed attendees, who

asked numerous questions

given the news that the

Trump administration was

about to issue an executive

order on climate change. The

lecture was arranged through

AFSA’s Speakers Bureau by

retired FSO Pierre Shostal, a

resident of Goodwin House.

Allen Keiswetter

, a

retired Foreign Service

officer, joined members of

the Greenspring Great Deci-

sions program in Springfield,

Virginia, to discuss “Saudi

Arabia in Transition.” Mr.

Keiswetter, a Middle East

expert and frequent lecturer

at AFSA Road Scholar edu-

cational programs, engaged

with an inquisitive audience

who had many questions

about oil, Islamic extremism

and the recent changes in the

Saudi royal family.

Ambassador (ret.)

Michael Cotter

met with

almost 50 members of the

Carolina Meadows retirement

community in Chapel Hill,

North Carolina, to talk about

dissent and the Foreign


This discussion occurred

shortly after heavy media

coverage of a State Depart-

ment dissent channel

message on the president’s

immigration executive order,

and Amb. Cotter used the

opportunity to talk about the

long history of dissent in the

Foreign Service and why it’s

important to maintain that

kind of conduit for opposing


Retired AFSA member

Tom Longo

will meet with

young 4-H participants at

Purdue University’s extension

program in West Lafayette,

Indiana, in June. The focus

of the discussion will be how

to stay globally engaged in

America’s heartland.

AFSA particularly appreci-

ates that Mr. Longo volun-

teered for this engagement,

as 4-H is one of AFSA’s

national outreach partners,

allowing us to tell the story

of the Foreign Service and

why diplomacy matters to an

audience that often does not

get the opportunity to inter-

act with American diplomats.

If you are interested in

joining the Speakers Bureau,

or inviting one of our speak-

ers to come to an event,

information is available on

the AFSA website,


org/speakers. Or if you are

part of a retiree group and

want to tell AFSA about what

you are doing, contact us at



—Ásgeir Sigfússon,

Director of Communications